For ten years a group of local volunteers have worked to build a permanent home for Ontario LongSpeed Skating in Lakefield. Their initial efforts resulted in a Business Plan that attracted financial support from every level of government and a large number of individuals and local businesses. This support, along with the money raised at a number of successful fund raising events, made it possible for the organizers to purchase a 13 acre parcel of land in the Lakefield South development area and to complete plans for a multi-use community recreation facility to be built adjacent to the outdoor temperature controlled 400 metre long track speed skating oval.
The Oval’s organizing group completed the plans and the studies required to build the new Oval Facility in Lakefield. The Oval Board obtained an Official Plan Amendment, along with the necessary Zoning change and Site Plan approval for an outdoor temperature controlled 400 metre Oval and the adjoining Community Building.
In the fall of 2009 the first significant stage of work was completed at the Oval site. The result was the completion of Southern Ontario’s only natural ice 400 metre long track speed skating facility in Lakefield. The Oval Board acquired the equipment needed to create a natural ice surface on the 400 metre track – an area that is 2 and a half times the size of an NHL size hockey rink.
Over the past four winters the Oval in Lakefield has played host to Olympic style speed skating events, regular practices for local speed skaters, pond hockey tournaments for all ages and a wide array of special events. The Oval provides the general public with regular free public skating sessions which over the past four seasons have attracted thousands of visitors to the Oval. Club speed skaters from across Ontario have been given the opportunity to change into their skates in a heated clubhouse adjacent to the skating oval and the public and school groups have been provided the opportunity to try skating on the club’s rental speed skates.
The ultimate goal of completing Ontario’s first outdoor temperature controlled 400 metre Oval remains intact but in the meantime the Oval’s volunteers and supporters have established this community facility that provides skaters from the local community and from across Ontario with the unique opportunity to enjoy outdoor skating on good ice in a wonderful setting.